Sunday, September 13, 2015

You Owe Planned Parenthood

All of you, men and women. I know who you are.  Back in the 1970s, when I was in high school, Planned Parenthood meant your girlfriend could get The Pill for free and without her parents finding out.  Planned Parenthood meant you could find out privately that that burning sensation was treatable, not fatal.

And after 1973, Planned Parenthood meant that you didn't have to get married and get a job to pay for a kid instead of going to college and fulfilling your dreams.

So Pay Up.  Pay with your money or pay with your voice.  Stand with the organization that was there when you needed it.  Stand with the organization that stood with you when no one else would.

Katha Pollitt:

 B.J. Isaacson-Jones, who ran an abortion clinic in St. Louis for many years, wrote “An Open Letter to 21 Million Women” in 1988, 15 years after Roe. This year, Roe turns 42, and it’s truer today than ever. It appears in full below.

Where are you?
For over 16 years we have provided
you with choices
Painful choices
I remember—
I sometimes cried with you.
Choices, nevertheless, when you were desperate.

Remember how we protected your privacy
and treated you with dignity and respect
when you
were famous
had been brought to us in shackles
with an armed guard, or
were terrified
that you would run into
one of your students?
I remember each of you.

Our clinic was firebombed.
Do you recall?
Exhausted and terrified we had
been up all night.
We rerouted you to another clinic
because you wanted an abortion that day.
Where are you?

Priding ourselves on providing abortions for
those who cannot pay, we have spent millions
of dollars that we never really
had caring for you. We wanted
to give a choice.
I also gave you cab fare and
money for dinner from my own pocket.
Have you forgotten?

I remember you cried and asked me how
you could carry this pregnancy to term when
you were abusing the children you had,
were having an affair,
tested positive for AIDS,
could not handle another,
were raped by your mother’s boyfriend,
pregnant by your father and
shocked and torn apart when
your very much wanted and loved
fetus was found to be
severely deformed.
Your mother picketed our clinic
regularly. We brought you in after dark.
Have you mustered the courage
to tell her that you are pro-choice?

You are.
Aren’t you?

I recall shielding your shaking body, guiding you
and you husband through the picket lines.
They screamed adoption, not abortion!
You wondered how you could explain your
choice to your young children.
You broke our hearts.

You had just celebrated your twelfth birthday
when you came to us. You clutched
your teddy bear, sucked your thumb
and cried out for your mom who asked
you why you had gotten yourself pregnant.
You replied that you just wanted to be grown.
You’re twenty today.
Where are you?

I pretend I don’t know you in the market,
at social gatherings and on the street.
I told you I would.
After your procedure you told me that you would
fight for reproductive choices (parenthood,
adoption, and abortion) for your mother, daughters,
and grandchildren. You will . . . won’t you?

I have no regrets. I care about
each and every one of you and
treasure all that you’ve taught me.
But I’m angry. I can’t do this alone.
I’m not asking you to speak about your abortion, but
You need to speak out and you need to speak
out now. Where are you?

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